I have previously mentioned that I have known since I was very young that I did not want to be a mother. And yet my entire life, my statement of intent to be childfree has been met with resistance. I have heard, for at least 30 years, often most assertively from people who purport to love me, that I don’t know my own mind. As a child who said she didn’t want children, I was considered an amusement—a precocious little women’s libber whose pronouncements about her childfree future were cute. As a teenager who said she didn’t want children, I was considered rebellious—a defiant reactionary who wasn’t stating a fact of examined self, but rejecting bourgeoisie institutions like family in a fit of angst. As a young woman who said she didn’t want children, I was simply told I was wrong, in all the ways that young women are: “You’ll change your mind.
And when I still didn’t change my mind, I was implored to consider my lonely death following a slow decline bereft of children to care for me. (As if all children care for their elderly parents and such is their obligation.) I was urged to imagine my terrible, empty, lonely life if Iain dies before me. (As if his death would not be precisely the same heart-shattering misery if we had children.) I was asked to consider that I may one day regret not having had children. (As if it would be better to have children just in case, despite the possibility I might regret having them, once they were here.)